Short essay on Folk and Electronic Media Blending

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The adaptation of the folk media to mass media like radio and television has been the subject of much discussion.

Folk media have also been presented over radio and television to relatively anonymous audiences. Here, they do not readily lend themselves to spontaneous adaptation, they are still found to be effective in making an impact.

ATR integrated folk media in its rural broadcasts all over the country in the form of folk songs and plays. The formats of radio play and folk play are similar as both are free from the dramatic unities of space and time and do not require any physical setting and both are close to the audience.

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Shankar (1978), observed that on hand the protagonists maintain that through the folk and mass media blending, traditional performances lose the mystic grandeur of their live performances.

Undesirable aspects are sometimes unimaginatively highlighted by mass media, and in the process of acquiring a mass character, sometimes more inhibitions are placed on the direct communication process.

Counter arguments are mounted by experts who feel that this kind of media blending is inevitable for mutual benefit.

In a paper presented at the UNESCO Seminar in New Delhi, Khanna, pointed out the advantages that would accrue from a fusion of the two media.

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In terms of technique, at least some of the mass communication media could greatly amplify, augment and intensify the effect usually created by traditional media.

For example, the aural quality of the radio liberates the mind of the listener from the traditional concept of time and space, and leaves his imagination free to add other dimensions drawn from subjective improvisation.

This additive factor for free imagination constitutes the main strength of the medium of radio. In TV, the close up can convey much more with greater emotional impact, largely by isolating the non-essential and focusing the viewers attention on only essentials tremendously enhancing the evocative power of human face or gesture.

The film too achieves similar results by breaking away from time and space, and using the element of mobility and flex to great advantage. Television as a medium can be used for such folk media which involve visuals and broadcasting can be used for those having only oral information.

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However, TV and broadcasting cannot substitute live performances. They can supplement live programmes. The programmes should be recorded on the field to maintain it’s natural touch as much as possible. (1974)

In theory it is true that the use of traditional and folk forms, with suitable adaptation, over the electronic media will give them a much wider reach than can be achieved through live performances.

But wide rural reach can in fact be achieved only when a large number of local radio and local TV stations are established at district level with adequate provision for community access.

It may sound contradictory that the very modernity which has been considered as one of the causes for the decline of the folk media is in some cases partly or wholly responsible for reviewing, revitalizing, preserving and disseminating the traditional media.

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For example, radio devotes 3.6 percent of its broadcast time to folk music and 1.6 percent to tribal music, apart from Bhavai and Tamasha programmes.

TV, though it has smaller reach as compared to radio, is doing a vital job with its multiple effect of reaching a large audience simultaneously and is capturing new audience. Thus TV and radio help to preserve the art forms.

Traditional media were integrated with mass media in the interest of multiplicity of programmes and simultaneous application to a far wider field. Traditional performing arts gained glamour through mass media, but there is every chance of their suffering in this blending, when they are not presented in their proper perspective.

In order to transfuse them through mass media without loss of their charm and rural ruggedness, it is necessary to shoot the programmes in their native field rather than bringing the performers to the studio.

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The studio treatment of the folk media is so harsh as to cut the most delightful angularities and make it a tailor-made, devoid of its inherent culture.

Many media experts feel that it would be disastrous to allow science and technology dominate folk media as it is a living symbol that carries the light and delight of the grass roots culture of the past, through the present into the future.

When folk media are integrated with electronic media, the new mode takes over certain functions of the existing mode, but the basic functions are retained because of its local acceptance and association with social systems.

A working document prepared for a group meeting of experts in London mentions that a wise strategy would try to bring about a mutual reinforcement of the advantages of both traditional and modern media.

It would also see to it that the effectiveness of the traditional forms did not vanish because of their inability to face up to the competition of the mass media, and that these media did not lose their impact as soon as the novelty of their use wore out.

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